Apr 28, 2021
I have forgotten how silent the mountains can be. The weather has been uncharacteristically stable with sunny days, clouds only appearing at sunset and minimal wind. I’ve been attempting to get satisfactory recordings of the wind - here especially it gives specific qualities to the acoustic rendering of the open spaces. The first week of the residency saw more incremental weather with arctic southerlies blasting up the plains. My Rycote ball gags did not provide adequate cover even with careful mic placement. Madelynne most kindly loaned me a pair of cyclone blimps, the same ones Philip Samartzis had successfully used in Antarctica. Total game changer, I was now able to make some decent recordings of winds ranging from howling to the subtle breeze that mummers in circular patterns over the tussock and shrub.
All technical concerns now sorted, the last five days I had set up camp in a secluded site at Buckety Plain. The first night I was woken by an immense wind which was thundering over Strawberry Saddle but somehow never descended into the campsite. I decided to set up the mics, ran the cables into my tent and began recording. It was a strange night, I would doze off for a while and then a new sound would wake me and I would turn over and begin recording again. The winds gradually eased to a gentler pitch, and then I could hear deer moving through nearby. Eventually, total silence, which was only occasionally punctuated by subtle creaks of the surrounding snow gums.
I have made a number of exploratory walks through the area, often following animal tracks which form intricate networks of lines through the plains and snow gum bushland. These tracks emerge from the topographical features, following contour lines, seeking streams and paths of least action, all tangled with the active local geological and ecological processes. These slow walks have given me time to stop more and peer into the messy detail of the landscape, experimenting with macro filming and distorting the image plain. Detail and structure briefly comes into focus before falling back into a fuzzy space of indeterminacy, not unlike the noise floor present beneath every act of recording.